Posted by: johnhourihan | August 26, 2013

Life and slot machines

I stepped on the scale today and it read 179. Just to double-check, in about 10 minutes, I stepped on it again. It read 184. I got off and tried again. It read 178.5.
I guess bathroom scales are like slot machines. You keep trying until you get the right number, then get off and go somewhere else.
So I weigh 178.5 today.slots
So many thing in life are like slot machines.
There is a multitude of possibilities on each spin of the wheels. Some are good for you, some aren’t so good.
Money makes the wheels go around.
There are small winners and big winners, but mostly there are losing combinations.
A lot of people show up  at both but very few know what is going on.
The addiction with machines, as with life, is that, at any second, things might change and you could become rich, happy or a combination of both.
Slot machines and the world have both been changed by technology. Just as kids no longer have to take summer jobs doing piece work in factories, you don’t have to do the work of pulling the handle any more. You just push the button.
In both places, people still deny there is a God, then pray like hell for a few extra bucks.
Life and your time at a slot machine is filled with the words “Oh, so close,” and “Why doesn’t that pay off.”
Slot machines?
Oh, right. Lin and I saved up some money and took a cruise.
Some advice. Don’t take a cruise in August. Take it in October.
In October the kids are in school.
The ship was overrun with teens and pre-teens. They were allowed just about everywhere, even the bars, so we found refuge in the only place they weren’t allowed: the casino.
We figure we won, since we didn’t lose much.
We met a school teacher who had lost $1,000 the first day and was headed to win it back on the second day.
School teachers are those people who spend their lives selling intangibles to groups of captured people who don’t want to buy anything or even be in the same room at the teacher. School teachers are therefore the ultimate optimists.
There were people playing two slot machines at the same time and chain smoking: losing twice as fast on both counts.
We found that if you take the time to take a breath and look up from the slot machine and step off the continuous grind, you get to meet some nice people. For instance, there was an elderly couple next to us. I say elderly because they looked older than me.
The woman was playing and the man was looking on with patronizing pride. His pride wasn’t in the machine, it was in his wife. He was obviously in love. Her eyes sparkled whenever she would win, even just a few pennies (we played penny slots).
Lin and I shared a look that said, I hope she wins.
Then she did. It wasn’t a jackpot but it was a pretty big win, something like 7,000 pennies. She clapped her hands as if she were six. He smiled and put his hand gently on her shoulder as if grounding her, and they shared a smile.
Lin and I were so happy for her we almost didn’t notice that Lin’s machine had been paying off the entire time.
I looked across at the couple. They were smiling and watching our machine as if it was their own winnings.
We all laughed together for a while.
Then before we left I took another look at the chain smokers who were playing multiple machines and growling at those who asked if they could play one of them.
“Find you own,” the woman said, setting her cigarette in the tray placed strategically between the two machines and taking a  tug from her drink.
I don’t suppose she left happy. She looked so very angry.
It was time for lunch so Lin and I left. As we passed the elderly couple the woman waved good bye and said, “Nice to meet you.” Her husband nodded. We saw them again the next day in the corridor. We said hello as if we were old friends.
I guess life, like slot machines, is what you make of it.



  1. Those angry people are wasting so much energy that they could be using for the positive in life… I totally agree John. Now I just have to figure out how to re-channel that energy the next time I get that way…

  2. I just wrote a three paragraph response. When I hit the last period the power went out. It’s lost. So you are 6 inches taller and 30 pounds liter. YOU and you know what goes before YOU!! Maybe the first one wasn’t meant to be sent.

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